Sunday, October 03, 2004

Berlin, Germany—Day 246

After meeting Nina for a late breakfast, I headed back to the zoo (joined by Elizabeth shortly afterwards) to photograph the hippos for a second time as well as meet up with Tim and Diana at the zoo, friends of my boss who live in Berlin and who are zoo aficionados. They have even adopted the pair of sloths at the Berlin Zoo (rightly named “Tim” and “Diana”). Today was an absolutely gorgeous day—in fact the nicest weather that we have had in Germany so far.

I headed to the zoo via the U-Bahn and bought my ticket. I walked over to the hippo enclosure where Tim had agreed to meet me next to the golden hippo statue. I stood there and waited and waited, and another couple stood near me waiting as well. Then we realized that we were waiting for each other! They were of course expecting me to be accompanied by Elizabeth and I wasn’t sure what to expect!

We introduced ourselves and headed into the hippo enclosure where we had a few minutes to spare before the feeding would begin. Sure enough, around 2:15 the water jet started again (this time Bulette was really no where to be found so she wasn’t getting sprayed off the platform with the hose!) and the hippos happily welcomed the drinking water. To my delight, and much to Tim and Diana’s delight, the hippos were fed just like I saw on Friday and I was able to get through the crowds and get some wonderful pictures.

After the feeding was over, Tim, Diana and I wandered around to the back of the hippo enclosure (the outside part that Elizabeth and I could not find the other day) but the hippos decided to stay inside. So we visited the bears and then went back to the hippos where we found Elizabeth. The four of us headed over to the sloths and found them hanging in their trees (according to Tim and Diana, the sloth “Tim” hardly ever moves at all!) and also visited the baby gorillas and chimpanzees. We then spent a good two hours walking around the rest of the zoo, visiting all sorts of other animals including the penguins and the nocturnal house. The lions were quite a sight and so was the petting zoo. I have to admit, I can’t for the life of me remember the last time I actually fed an animal in a petting zoo but we got some handfuls of food and fed the goats and miniature horses which was secretly really fun.

Tim and Diana really are zoo enthusiasts—Diana grew up going to the Berlin zoo every weekend and continues to go at least once a month. I was impressed—they have probably been to just as many zoos as I have since they visit a zoo wherever they travel on vacation.

We headed out of the zoo and Tim and Diana were kind enough to give Elizabeth a ride over to Sophie-Charlotte-Platz where there is a nice lake. We said goodbye to Time and Diana and headed over to a nice little lake to spend about an hour lying on the grass—one of my favorite ways to spend an afternoon!

We then headed home, stopping by a gas station to get some wine (the only place open on Sundays!) and met Nina at our apartment to have drinks before going out for Indian food in Kreuzberg. We then stopped by Katharina’s to say goodbye and drove home to Schoenberg along the “Eastside Gallery”—a large portion of the Berlin Wall that that has remained and painted by artists.